Wednesday, October 26, 2011

josé's band of the week: wolvhammer

from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (now based in Chicago)
I first heard of Wolvhammer shortly before their previous album, their full-length debut 'Black Marketeers Of World War III', came out. It was, at the time, a recommendation from The Atlas Moth's frontman Stavros, and since he still had his epic moustache at the time, I took it very seriously and checked these guys out. In good time, too - you might remember I placed that album at a very respectable #38 on my best albums of 2010 list, its ferocious mix of all the right brands of darkness hitting a deep spot indeed. Now, barely a year later, here's an even darker and leaner beast to contend with, in the form of the band's second album, 'The Obsidian Plains'.

The promo arrived in the nick of time for this week's band of the week too, straight from their new über-cult, über-cool record label, Profound Lore. I was indecise with a couple of choices for this week's accolade, but once I took the sombre b&w disc out of the package I had the feeling my doubts were over, effortlessly confirmed by a few spins. It truly is the proverbial passing into the next level for the band, on all fronts. A stable line-up which now features Jeff Wilson (former Nachtmystium guitarist), a stellar, as usual, Sanford Parker production/recording job and an expanded sound that doesn't, however, abandon the filth of its primordial Celtic Frost/Darkthrone gene pool are all the right ingredients for a deep plunge into the grey. 'The Obsidian Plains' is the sort of album that pounds you into submission in very different ways, due to the perfectly aligned and engaging tracklist. Obscure ragers like the one-two punch of openers 'The Gleaming' and 'Writhe' will instantly and immediately turn on any room full of metalheads, while halfway through things take a turn for the worse, with the atmospheric malaise of 'Ghosts In The Water' and the dread-filled chanting in 'Shadowhorn'. At a certain point, it's almost like the songs and their different parts are all bleeding into each other, and no matter if it's a feedback-ridden piece of noise, a particularly hateful piercing scream or a full-on blackthrash attack part, you're completely lost in their acerbic whirlwind anyway.

And that name, man. You have to wonder how in decades of heavy metal, no one took that name. It neatly sums up basically everything we need on a metal record. Fuck yeah.

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